Use the Gifts

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

One of the reasons that I love to coach is because I was blessed with coaches who encouraged and inspired me to be the best version of myself, both on and off of the playing field/gym floor. A gift that I feel God has birthed and grown in me, is one of encouragement. This is an asset for a coach, and one of the things that I enjoy immensely about the job that I have partaken in for the majority of my life. There is great reward in encouraging and helping young athletes grow, and such joy in watching them discover the fruit of their labor. This morning, I have an interview for a high school assistant gymnastics coaching position at our local high school. My experience has been coaching recreational and middle school gymnastics since I was sixteen, yet the high school arena is entirely new, barring my own experience as a gymnast. As a middle school head coach, this would be an incredible opportunity to learn the sport at an entirely new level. For me, the hope is to grow that which is already within, so that I may become better equipped to lead well, and to extend what I have to offer to this group as we grow together. God is good, and He is faithful. I am embracing the opportunity to learn, and will serve in this season, whether I am hired for the paid spot or not.

 

We’re all given gifts, img_2019-11-21_04-33-541632839495721985461.jpg

In various forms;

Intended to serve,

Blessings God affords.

Whatever we have,

We are meant to use;

To extend God’s grace,

Purposeful pursuit.

May we each go forth,

And serve as we’re called;

Operate in strength,

Through God’s love installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with strengths, gifts and purpose. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to grow and utilize that which we have been given. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to navigate in the strength that we have been granted, or attempt to be someone or something other than who we are created to be. Teach us to lean into You so that we would be confident in that which we are called and created to do. Show us how to love those around us in exactly the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our purpose in the gifts that You have planted and purposed in each of us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

In Trust, I Rise

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life. – (Psalm 119:147, TPT)

 

Early mornings have been my favorite time of day for many years. When I was a small child, rising early meant the promise of watching cartoons prior to whatever plans the day held. As I grew older, I discovered the beauty found in the silent stillness, while most of the world still sleeps. For an introvert in a highly interactive role, rising early to ready myself for the day, is essential. Some days, it is praying, and others, it is a sort of crying out for help, as I seek strength and wisdom to find the fortitude to forge forward in faith. No matter how I wake and approach God, He is faithful to meet me as I am. His word is alive and active; ever teaching, correcting, and challenging me to be more of who He is calling me to become. I trust Him and place my hope in He who is faithful forever. May we ever pursue our Provider, and trust His word to work in our lives.

 

Before dawn appears, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

In faith, I choose rise;

To call on the Lord,

Have Him lead my life.

For as I choose trust,

Always I have found;

He’s faithful and true,

His wisdom is sound.

Help me to live well,

A life built on trust;

Renewed each morning,

Wise, faithful and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whenever we come to You and pray to You, You are faithful to hear us. Thank You that we can trust in Your word. Thank You for the gift of early mornings and the capacity to rise early. Thank You for the gift of the silence of early mornings, while the world still sleeps. Forgive us for not being intentional in our pursuit of You and Your word. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be purposeful in prayer and seek to study and know Your word. Show us how to love those around us with faithfulness and grace, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You and choose to spend time seeking You, because You are faithful and worthy of all of our trust. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Accepting Others Honors God

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

Christ accepts us just as we are, wherever we are at in our lives. We are called to do the same for others. In doing so, we are honoring God and bringing praise to Him. God does not ask us to clean ourselves up and get everything all together in order to come to Him, but rather He extends open arms toward us, and is ready to walk beside us as we learn to live and lead a life according to His good and perfect will. The Lord is so gracious with us, how can we help but extend the same to those around us? Furthermore, why wouldn’t we desire with all our hearts, to do the very things that honor He who loves us without limits? May we receive the acceptance that God has given us, so that we may in turn, go forth and accept others, extending kindness and love, grace and goodness, just as we have been shown by Him.

It was a full week for mom, as she reentered the rigor of both physical and speech therapists coming to the home to work with her to strengthen and create new pathways where there is still struggle. Mom’s initial take on the week is extremely positive, as she is encouraged to move forward and work hard toward her ultimate goal of regaining independence. She is strong and tenacious, and willing to persevere in her pursuit. Additionally, mom has a phenomenal support system surrounding her, as my sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, encourage, love and support her each day. I know the communication from her beloved friends and family near and far, makes a world of difference as well. She is accepted as she is, where she is at, and does the same for those around her. All honor and praise to God, for He is indeed so good.

 

We’re called to accept,

Peace Through Understanding

Each other in love;

Just as our Father,

Has done from above.

He does not require,

Qualifications;

But rather, accepts,

Our lot and stations.

The way that God loves,

Is how we are called;

To love and accept,

People, one and all.

For each time we choose,

To love with our days;

We honor the Lord,

And give our God praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving and accepting us as we are. Thank You that by doing so, You walk beside us and lead us into the life to which we are called. Thank You that You call us to love and accept others in the same way, and when we do, we are honoring You. Forgive us for the times that we have not been accepting of others. Show us where we have fallen short, and how to be better. Lead us to love and accept others in the same way that You accept us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others in the same way that You accept us. Amen.

 

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Prioritize Peace

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

In as much as we can, we ought to be in pursuit of peace with those around us. We are called to strengthen and encourage one another, prioritizing a life of harmony with those whom have been placed in our lives to love. This is not a “peace at any price” sort of scenario, but rather harmony through mutual encouragement and strengthening. Choosing to love in ways that make those around us stronger, rather than participating in that which can lead to dissension, is the sort of peaceful pursuit for which we are aiming. May we make every effort to do the things that lead to peace and mutual edification through His strength within us.

 

Wherever we can, Embracing Grace

May we pursue peace;

Seek strengthen, build up,

Grace provides release.

Release from burdens,

Of judgment and scorn;

Instead, choose to love,

As Christ, the Adored.

Encourage others,

Do not choose tear down;

May peace direct us,

Let His love be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through Your loving example, we are called to pursue peace. Thank You that You modeled how to strengthen and build up those around You. Forgive us for the times that we have brought others down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rely on You to lead us and show us how to build others up in love all around us in a way that brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You through a life of pursued peace. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Found By the Seeking

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

 

Just as a parent will hear the requests of their children, so too, does God hear our prayers. It is promised that when we seek Him, we will find God. He opens doors that we are meant to walk through, and grants us what we need to keep moving forward. Our charge is to keep looking, knocking and asking, for the Lord hears and sees our pursuit of Him and His will. May we ever trust in the Lord and His faithfulness, so that we ask, seek and knock before Him, believing in His loving kindness that hears, opens and empowers.

 

Seek and ask the Lord,

img_2019-04-12_08-16-495303350405743348655.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’s faithful to give;

All that is needed,

To faithfully live.

Knock on heaven’s door,

It will open wide;

God ever welcomes,

His seekers inside.

Trust in His goodness,

Know that the Lord hears;

Blesses the faithful,

All who choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us, see us, and bless us with Your faithful presence and help when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to make our own way, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to answer as we ask. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrates Your ongoing presence and faithfulness, so that they may know of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers, ask for Your help and trust the path You provide for us to follow. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Seek to Do Good and Love

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

 

The human condition becomes quite ugly when individual agendas are pursued, rather than righteousness and love. If we cannot look past ourselves to extend the same love that we have so freely been given, peace is lacking, and satisfaction never arrives. I cannot help but cringe in today’s political climate. With both sides in seeming pursuit of personal agendas, rather than what is truly right, there is no love extended, and it becomes an episode of adults behaving badly. What if each party set aside their differences and looked for solutions that are founded in love, kindness and justice? Integrity would remain intact, and representatives would be respected, regardless of party affiliation. Currently, all I know to do is pray – for both sides. On a personal level, if I am working hard to do good and be faithful to love, I know peace in my pursuit of right living. May we each pursue righteousness and love, personally, and pray for such for those who have been chosen to lead our nation.

 

We each have been called, Ambassadors of Love

To live right and love;

Choose good for others,

As God does for us.

For as we choose well,

A true life is shown;

Honor and respect,

As grace is made known.

Imagine a place,

Where righteousness reigned;

Love motive for all,

Peace could be maintained.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reward righteousness and love with life, goodness and honor. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather as we seek You and pursue a life of loving You and loving people, goodness and love are extended according to what is right. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to withhold good or do anything out of selfish ambition rather than love. Teach us to seek You and follow Your leading, so that love and righteousness will be our mode of operation. Show us how to give good and love well for the good of those around us, and not just ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do good and love well. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

Appropriated Praise

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV) 

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV) 

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG) 

 

This tends to feel like an extraordinarily long week, as we all adjust to being back at work and school after having had a several-day stretch of a break. Between the cold, dark, drizzly days to the extra meetings that have taken place, or the pursuit of personal fitness goals that have increased my running mileage, by the end of each day, I have found myself thoroughly exhausted. Through it all, God deserves my gratitude. Because of His faithfulness, I am gainfully employed, working at a job that I have loved for more than twenty years. His grace grants us seasons that nourish the earth, and make us appreciate warmer weather all the more. Finally, His goodness has granted me a body that is strong and healthy and able to work harder and be pushed farther to attain new milestones in my own personal pursuit of wellness. May we ever thank God for His goodness and love, as His faithfulness lasts forever and He is worthy of all of our praise. 

 

Give thanks to the Lord, fb_img_15434953364791225849349188341322.jpg

When all’s going well; 

And still give Him thanks, 

When things aren’t so swell. 

Even in darkness, 

God’s love light does shine; 

It is up to us, 

Allow Him headline. 

All praise to the Lord, 

For all of our days; 

His hope, grace and help, 

Love that lights our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love for us, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that Your love lasts forever. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when we are weary of all that weighs us down. Teach us to give You praise, no matter how we feel, as You are the reason we have life and breath and hope, both now and forever. Show us how to love those around us practically, so that Your goodness, faithfulness and love are made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

The Intended Target in Training

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. – (1 Timothy 4:8, NLT)

Training your body helps you in some ways. But devotion to God helps you in every way. It brings you blessings in this life and in the future life too. – (1 Timothy 4:8, ERV)

Although training your body has certain payoffs, godliness benefits all things – holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming. – (1 Timothy 4:8, VOICE)

 

Just as physical training provides benefit to our body, devotion to God (spiritual training), benefits our mind and spirit. Though both types of training have value, the latter lasts forever. What we know and how we grow, impact our eternity. Training our body can help us be our best self, so that we are physically equipped to do all that the Lord asks of us. However, if we do not train our heart and mind to be in tune with Christ, how will we know and recognize His voice in our lives? May we ever pursue the path of righteousness, for it holds promise in the Lord both for now and forever more.

 

Training has purpose, The Intended Target in Training

In all that we do;

For what we practice,

Leads to what’s pursued.

If we train for good,

Seek align with God;

We’re aptly prepared,

Despite how we’re flawed.

We’ll learn how to walk,

In His righteousness;

Allow God to reign,

By His faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue Your path prepared for us, You meet us, lead us and bless us both now and for all time. Thank You that You are faithful to all who seek You. Forgive us for our inconsistency in training in our pursuit of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make time to fix our eyes, hearts and minds on You. Show us how to love those around us well, as we grow in our likeness to You through continued pursuit of Your path and purpose for our lives. Be glorified O God, as we train our hearts, minds and entire beings to become who You intended us to be. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – Proverbs 21:21

 

 

Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11